Cubs Reportedly Sign Veteran Catcher Chris Gimenez (Who Is Close with Yu Darvish)

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Cubs Reportedly Sign Veteran Catcher Chris Gimenez (Who Is Close with Yu Darvish)

Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs went through a whole lot of catchers last year, with all of Willson Contreras, Miguel Montero, Alex Avila, Rene Rivera, Victor Caratini, Kyle Schwarber, and Taylor Davis seeing time at one point or another. At present, though, they stand ready to give time in 2018 to only Contreras and Caratini, with perhaps Schwarber grabbing a few starts along the way.

That’s why we’ve been convinced for a long time that the Cubs would add a veteran backstop to work into the mix, either as *the* back-up catcher (with Caratini heading back to Iowa to open the season), or as depth at Iowa for when the need inevitably arises. And it sounds like they may have landed their guy:

Gimenez, 35, was excellent in back-up duty two of the past three seasons, most recently with the Twins, and before that, he was perfectly solid as a back-up catcher. Interestingly, some of those most recent years came with the Rangers, and …

Since it’s a minor league deal at a position of need for the Cubs anyway, I don’t think we can say this a David Ross-Jon Lester situation, but I also don’t think that aspect should go ignored. Having Gimenez in the fold can only help with the Darvish pursuit. Apparently Darvish was asking Gimenez a bunch of questions about the Twins earlier this offseason.

Setting aside the Darvish aspect, Gimenez has typically been an above-average defensive catcher who rated as one of the better framers in baseball last year, though he was slightly below average the year before, and about average the year before that. As a receiver, then, he’s probably an above-average defender and average framer. That’s just fine for a back-up.

He’s hit just .218/.309/.345 in his big league career (80 wRC+), though two of his average or better offensive seasons came in two of the past three years. He’s also posted a career 107 wRC+ against lefties, so he can certainly be useful at the dish in the right match-ups.

Gimenez also spent parts of 2012-14 with the Rays, so he’ll be familiar (and vice versa) with Joe Maddon and Jim Hickey.

So, then, even setting aside the Darvish stuff, on a minor league deal, I freaking love this signing. The Cubs absolutely needed someone exactly like Gimenez, and if they weren’t going to bring back Alex Avila or Rene Rivera (the latter has since signed with the Angels), then I’m totally good with this route. Bring Gimenez to Spring Training, and then make a decision on whether you want him or Caratini to break camp as the backup.

More on Yu Darvish’s market here, and the five-year offer he has from an unknown team.

UPDATE: *stifled squeal*:

ALL. TIME. FAVORITE. CATCHER. Just sayin’. It’s also worth pointing out that Gimenez probably had his pick of many, many teams on a minor league deal. And he chose the Cubs.

UPDATE 2: And what do you know, just like that, the Cubs are reportedly in “active talks” with Darvish. EEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeee.

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.